This winter season, Hertfordshire County Council saw a significant increase in potholes reported by the public, which is obviously a cause for concern for the Council. According to the Council, it has received a total of 3,634 reports of potholes for January of 2018, which is higher than the 1,842 pothole reports received during the same time in 2017.
The bad winter season’s effects
Hertfordshire Council speculates that the main reason for the increased number of potholes is the oft-repeated and regular fluctuations when it comes to the temperature of the roads, which is often either above or below freezing. These fluctuations have then resulted in a freezing and thawing process wherein rainwater inside the surface of the road is able to expand to as much as 10% once it is frozen. However, once the temperature rises again, the frozen rainwater thaws and begins to fill the road surface cracks which are formed. The repeated process of thawing and freezing has caused considerable damage to the roads in Hertfordshire as it washes away loose material on the road surfaces, resulting in a rise in potholes as well.
During the current winter season, the County Council has said that it has already made a total of 66 runs for gritting, which is also higher compared to last year’s 44 runs – and the winter season isn’t finished yet and is expected to last until the latter part of April.
The goals of the County Council
The Council’s executive highways member, Ralph Sangster, states that the figures confirm that the highways in Hertfordshire have gone through an extreme winter, and the wet and freezing weather has contributed to the rise in potholes in the region.
Mr. Sangster adds that along with the investment in the maintenance of some of the busiest road networks in Hertfordshire, the council is planning to invest an extra £29 million in the coming 4 years for the improvement of the unclassified roads in Hertfordshire (roads which most residents live on, along with rural roads and lanes). Additionally, Mr. Sangster confirms that they have already focused on the repair of the potholes over other priorities such as the trimming of hedges and the clearing of gullies.
According to Mr. Sangster, they have also been making use of ‘Jet Patcher’ equipment to fix defects on the carriageways which could lead to potholes and even bigger road issues if they are not addressed in a quick manner.
The good news is that the county council has reported that it has been able to reach its target of 24-hour repair for potholes and repair for other serious road problems within 5 to 20 business or working days.